‘Breakup from Hell’: Living in a horror novel
Ann Dávila Cardinal latest young adult novel stars Mica Angeles, a Latina teen obsessed with horror novels
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Ann Dávila Cardinal’s passion for writing runs through her veins. This Nuyorican novelist based in Vermont comes from a long line of Puerto Rican writers, including father and son poets Virgilio and José Antonio Dávila, and her cousin, award-winning fiction writer Tere Dávila.
Her latest young adult novel, Breakup from Hell tells the story of Miguela Angeles, Mica, a young Latina teen from Vermont who needs her life to change. She is tired of her abuela keeping secrets, especially about her heritage. She's tired of her small Vermont town and hanging out at the same places with the same friends she’s known forever. When another boring Sunday trip to church turns into a run-in with Sam, a mysterious hottie in town on vacation, Mica seizes the opportunity to get closer to him.
It’s not long before she is under Sam’s spell and doing things she’s never done before, like winning all her martial arts sparring matches — and lying to her favorite people. The more time Mica spends with Sam, the more weird things start to happen, too — like terrifying-visions-of-the-world-ending weird.
Mica’s gut instincts keep telling her something is off, yet Sam is the most exciting guy she’s ever met. But when Mica discovers his family’s roots, she realizes that instead of being in the typical high school relationship, she’s living in a horror novel.
With an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA), Dávila published her first solo novel in 2019, a young adult horror novel titled Five Midnights, winner of the 2020 International Latino Book Award in the category of Best Young Adult Fantasy & Adventure, and finalist for the Bram Stoker Award. The story continues in Category Five, also from Tor Teen, released on June 2, 2020. Category Five is a 2021 nominee for the same International Latino Book Award category. Her latest young adult horror novel, Breakup From Hell, was released by HarperCollins on Jan. 3, 2023.
Her first adult novel, the Puerto Rican magical realist mystery The Storyteller’s Death, was released from Sourcebooks Landmark on Oct. 4, 2022. Her second adult novel, We Need No Wings, is scheduled for release in October 2024.